Infrastructure

When considering the design of a new engine, a significant barrier to market entry is the ability of the design to integrate with existing infrastructure including:

  1. Engine plant materials, processes and labor
  2. Ease of technical adaptation into current vehicles
  3. Vehicle assembly plant materials, processes and labor
  4. Ease of access to the marketplace
  5. Ability to use current, easily accessible fuels
  6. Ability to migrate to new fuels in the future

If a new engine design does not integrate with the hundreds of billions of dollars of existing transportation related infrastructure it is unlikely to be readily adapted by business, government and the public.

In contrast, the ZED engine fully integrates with the existing motor vehicle infrastructure.

  1. Engine plant materials, processes and labor. The ZED engine is based on an internal combustion engine short block piston assembly. All of the ancillary components can also be made at an engine plant using current materials, machinery, methods and labor.  Unlike electric vehicles which use toxic Lithium and other materials, ZED engines are made of iron, steel, aluminum and plastic, all of which are environmentally friendly, completely recyclable, and often locally sourced.
  2. Ease of technical adaptation into current vehicles.  With a design based on current engine block assemblies, the ZED engine is installed in the same location and in the same manner as a current engine in a vehicle. The ZED engine is approximately the same size as a conventional engine, although in most cases is lighter. This eliminates any overall change in the powertrain configuration, or the vehicle itself including braking, steering, or operator controls.
  3. Vehicle assembly plant materials, processes and labor.  The ZED engine is designed to be no more than an “engine option” on the assembly line. This would be no different than the same Dodge pickup truck assembly line installing a variety of V6, V8 or diesel engines. The ZED engine would be just another option with no change to the materials used in assembly, the machinery, automated vehicle assembly process, or the labor function.
  4. Ease of access to the marketplace. This issue may the most critical and often overlooked barrier to marketplace entry. While every new company focuses on the design and manufacturing of a vehicle, few consider the peripheral constraints on bringing a vehicle to market. By licensing existing manufacturers, the ZED powered vehicle integrates fully with the transportation, dealership, parts depot, and service support of manufacturers to access the market quickly and inexpensively. Similarly, consumers do not want to drive an electric vehicle that runs out of power after 50 miles, or be jammed into a microcar that can’t travel on the highway. With the ZED engine, consumers can drive their SUV, sports car, four door sedan, or pickup. No other alternate engine can satisfy this consumer demand for quick marketplace acceptance. With the low cost of ZED engine production, a consumer would also pay little or no premium to purchase a ZED engine vehicle, which eliminates another major barrier to market entry.
  5. Ability to use current, easily accessible fuels. Why buy a fuel cell vehicle when there are no fueling stations, or an electric with limited plug-ins and a long charge time? In contrast, the ZED powered vehicle can burn any carbon or non-carbon based fuel. This includes gasoline, diesel, natural gas, or propane, which have extensive fueling points throughout Europe and North America. For the consumer this means that re-fueling remains a quick, stress free experience.
  6. Ability to migrate to new fuels in the future.  Although current ZED engines are configured to run on either liquid or gaseous fuel, the only constraint is having the appropriate fuel tank for the fuel. Most vehicles are currently fueled by liquid gasoline or diesel, but it is anticipated in the near future that motor vehicle fuel will migrate to gaseous natural gas. While it is comparatively difficult to convert a conventional vehicle from gasoline to natural gas, the only change needed on a ZED vehicle is the fuel tank. In the far future, the fuel of choice may be hydrogen, which can also be used to fuel a ZED powered vehicle with near-zero emissions. As such, the ZED engine can be used without design modification over a long period of time should different fuels become available.

 As important as the technical innovation, the business model must bring new technology to the marketplace in a manner which will ensure rapid adaptation. Unlike many other “green-tech” alternative powertrains, every effort has been made strategically to fully integrate ZED engines with the existing marketplace infrastructure so as to ensure a high level of quick acceptance.